Justice for Lucia: No More Migrant Deaths

Posted by admin on Sep 22nd, 2014

A BC Coroners inquest into the tragic and shameful death of Lucia Vega Jimenez is beginning on Monday September 29th and continues till Friday October 3rd.

The community, including a coalition of eight immigrant, refugee and Latin American community groups, has been SHUT OUT of this inquest.

We invite the community for a delegation on the first day of the inquest as well an evening rally to gather and renew our calls and commitment for justice.

Monday September 29th at 8:30 am
Burnaby Coroners Court, MetroTower II. Easiest way to find it is adjacent to skytrain station take the Central Blvd entrance to the Mall, right by the open plaza area.

Tuesday September 30th at 6:30 pm
CIC offices, 300 West Georgia, near VPL.

Lucia Vega Jimenez was a 42-year Mexican hotel worker who died while under Canadian Border Service Agency’s custody in December 2013 after being turned over to immigration authorities by TransLink police. Just prior to her scheduled deportation to Mexico, she hung herself in cells at the Vancouver International Airport. She died eight days later, on December 28, 2013. Lucia’s death was kept secret by CBSA and pubic officials for over a month.
Community members uncovered this horrific tragedy and sounded the alarm to media. Lucia’s death sparked national outrage. A petition by community groups with over 8,688 signatures calls for a full, transparent and independent civilian inquiry and investigation. The petition also calls for independent civilian oversight and a comprehensive review of migrant detention policies.

Despite months of grassroots community mobilizing to seek justice for Lucia and her family, a coalition of eight immigrant, refugee and Latin American community groups have been denied participant status by the BC Coroners Service. We gathered information, organized memorials, and pressed the government for justice. We called for this inquest and an independent investigation, and still we – the community – have been shut out.

Though we have been shut out, we will not be silent. We want to know what happened to Lucia while in CBSA’s custody. We want to know why CBSA hid her death for over one month. We want to know why Translink is cooperating with border officials. We want to know why Lucia did not receive support, including mental health support, services. We want to know why there is no independent accountability or oversight mechanism for migrant detention. We want to know why CBSA is detaining and deporting migrants like Lucia back to unsafe circumstances.

We condemn Canadian immigration policies and the practices of the Canada Border Services Agency for the breaking up of thousands of families and the unjust imprisonment of thousands of migrants, including children. Last year alone, 10,088 people were detained by the CBSA. Over the past five years there have been a number of migrant deaths in detention, while awaiting deportation, or upon deportation. These include Jan Szamko, Habtom Kibreab, Walji family, Hossein Blujani, Lucia Vega Jimenez, Grise, and Veronica Castro.

Migrant dignity, not migrant death!
Not one more detention, not one more deportation, not one more death!

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